Skip to main content

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Commander Charles R. Train, United States Naval Attaché in Rome

October 20th. 1917.

My dear Train,

          Many thanks for your letter of October 14th, expressing your opinion of the efficiency of the festive Stark in bringing his destroyers from the Far East.1

          Since he left Manilla it has never occurred to me to send him any telegrams to hurry up with his vessels because I naturally assumed that he was doing everything that he could to get here as soon as possible.

          I am more than delighted that he is coming out to serve under my general orders and I hope to be able to see him soon.

          I have been much interested in the reports that you have been sending in recently, particularly your contrast of the British and Italian estimate of the situation in the Adriatic. I have my opinion about these matters, and I think you can probably guess what they are.

          It is quite unnecessary to inform you that we are excessively busy up here with administrative and other duties and I believe we are getting along as well as might be expected under the circumstances. The circumstances are that there has been difficulty in making the principal dignitaries realize the magnitude of the job.

          Commander Cone has recently arrived to take complete charge of the naval aviation development that we are putting into Great Britain and France.2 You may be sure that I am more than glad to have him with me.

          I should be delighted if you could rig a purchase to get away from your present duties and come up here and get into the game. I have repeatedly requested the Department to send me those officers who have had previous experience in command of destroyers instead of sending out boats with men of no experience at all. I know that your Ambassador3 opposed this at first but he told me that he had withdrawn his opposition. See what you can do about it. You may use my name in any way you think best.

Very sincerely yours,


Source Note: TL, DLC-MSS, William Sims Papers, Box 23. At the top of the first page are the identifiers, “ADMIRAL SIMS’ PERSONAL FILE” and “1/5/6/J/Q”. Following the close, the letter is addressed to “Commander C. R. Train, U.S.N./Naval Attache,/American Embassy,/Rome, Italy.”

Footnote 1: Lt. Cmdr. Harold R. Stark, Commander, Torpedo Flotilla, Asiatic Fleet. Train’s letter has not been located.

Footnote 2: Cmdr. Hutchinson I. Cone. Cone was primarily responsible for aviation maters in areas of “policy, operations, personnel, and materiel.” Rossano, Stalking the U-Boat, 43.

Footnote 3: Thomas N. Page. Though Train and Sims pursued this plan to have Train serve on Sims’ staff in London, nothing came to fruition. Train remained in his post in Rome through the end of the war.